Leone Whites coming with IRB play level
The Leone Whites Rugby Club is coming into this year’s American Samoa Rugby Union’s 2nd Annual TMO 7s Marist Pago Tournament with the determination that if other countries can do it, why can’t American Samoa? And Leone will be the team to show it, says Head Coach Pati Maiava.
“We want to tell all our local teams who are always going out to the rugby tournaments in New Zealand and Hawaii and other parts of the world, that we can play at their same level. I know Tutuila is just new to the IRB system, but we want to tell the whole world that it’s not only them that can do it, we can do it too,” said Maiava.
Regarding the team, Maiava told Samoa News that this is the same squad that performed last year in the TMO 7s tourney that will be coming back again to face the same challenge in a different year.
“When we brought the team last year, our players weren’t really aware of how the game is played exactly. But this year, you will see what time can do to make a difference in a team, the fruits of our labor will be noticed,” he stated.
“I know that this year’s tournament will be a tough one with other international teams coming in, but you will witness the difference when the time comes for Leone to hit the field for game number one,” Maiava told Samoa News.
According to Head Coach Maiava, the Leone Whites team has been practicing for three weeks now, and is heading into their fourth this week the beginning of April, adding, “I know we’re heading into our fourth week of practice, but the honest truth is, these players never rested.”
He said, “right after the super 15 tournament, these guys were still training hard individually, I even see them sometimes early in the morning when I am on my way to the gym — …still running — trying to get ready for something. But when the invitation for the sevens came along, this was the right time to bring my players back together again, so I would say that Leone is ready mentally, and physically heading into this year’s sevens tournament.”
Maiava pointed out that Leone is running with 15 players as of now, players who come to run every single day. they are the only players who will be a part of the team. “Our players consist of ages 18 going up, and these athletes are all returning players for Leone from last year’s TMO 7.”
Giving thanks “firstly … to the elders and leaders of our village,” Maiava said, “this rugby team is “Ilao ma Komaka”. He noted, they would also like “to thank our representative and village members. Our team do not lean on business related organizations, we depend on the hands of our village because we know that we have their full support.”